Staff Testimonials – Darren Clifford’s Story

Meet Darren Clifford

Senior Business Analyst

With MetaPM since 2015

MetaPM clients that Darren has worked with:

  • Sportsbet
  • Australian Catholic University
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Catholic Church Insurance

Darren Clifford

What do you enjoy most about working @ MetaPM?

The people, both MetaPM and clients. Projects come and go but it’s the people that you worked with that you remember. They’re the ones that you catch-up for lunch or drinks when the projects’ long since delivered.

If you were to describe our company in 3 words, what would they be?

Expert Project Delivery.

What do you like most about your job?

I love the variety. Not just in clients but in tasks and projects. I’m not one for daily routine and I like to be challenged. I like that my projects are all different and that I meet and interact with different people, different industries, and different ways of working. Every day is both a learning and teaching experience.

What does a typical working day look like for you?

It really depends on the project but it always involves client interaction. Whether it be a workshop with the business, review with a technical team, or a demonstration from a vendor. Rare are the times when I am sitting at my computer for the entire day.

What is one of the most interesting tasks / projects you have worked on?

I’ve worked for clients from on-line wagering, to higher education, and to insurance companies. I think that when you’ve worked at Sportsbet and Catholic Church Insurance, it’s fair to say that you’ve covered a wide the range of clients. I’d say that Sportsbet was the most interesting client mostly because I have an interest in sports even though my project wasn’t related to the betting, it was still a great environment.

If you were to recommend us to someone who would it be and why?

I have recommended MetaPM to a number of my former colleagues. Some have been employed for contracts and some are still waiting for the right opportunity. It is a great place to work and the support available to consultants is amazing. The BA practice is growing and it’s a good time to be part of it.

What led you to become a consultant?

My first full-time job was with a consulting firm. So, really, it’s how I thought work was in the IT industry. I enjoyed the project based work and moving around with different clients. I’ve worked at organisations before as part of the IT department but missed the variety that consulting brings. I also enjoy the client interaction and stakeholder management side of the roles. It’s something I found I had an aptitude for and have really tried to build on that.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction in your role?

There are a number of elements from which I draw satisfaction. One is the feeling when the requirements that you’ve created come to fruition in a solution. Another is that point when a BA becomes a trusted advisor to the business. To know that you have earned the confidence of the business is something else. It’s even more meaningful when it is in an industry that you’ve never worked in before.

What’s one interesting thing about you that not many people know of?

I love Karaoke. I absolutely suck at singing but I will willingly get up and sing karaoke stone cold sober. The one thing that I think ruins karaoke nights are people that can really sing. Rack off and go try out for The Voice or X-Factor and stop ruining everyone’s fun. Good karaoke nights become sing-a-longs for everyone in the room.

Blog – The Organisational and Staff Benefits of Competency Assessments

Competency Assessments Blog Banner Image

The Organisational and Staff Benefits of Competency Assessments

The concept of a competency assessment is the kind of thing that can result in some initial anxiety for candidates, employees, and project managers. If it leads to a workplace with unnecessary tensions, the result could be a skewed perspective of the actual competency of the assessment. Because of this, it’s important to make it clear right from the start how beneficial such a process can be for both individual staff members and for the organisation as a whole.

Such assessments are becoming increasingly important to the modern workforce, where technology is levelling the business playing field.

Competency assessments allow a company to identify the skills available for certain tasks and jobs, and to recruit and develop employees who possess those skills where there are gaps. This not only leads to a more efficient team but also puts employees in a better position for capability development so they can further their careers.

Organisational benefits

There is nothing more frustrating than sitting in an interview with a candidate that clearly does not fit the position of which they’re applying. The awkwardness permeates the room, and the thought likely crosses everyone’s mind that it could all have been avoided. A competency assessment is a good way to do this, through a simple process that helps an organisation determine early on whether a candidate fits a role, or if they may be more suited for a different area in the company, if applicable.

This can produce dramatic results, by making sure people with the right skills are brought on and avoiding churn in staff, where possibly months of investment is lost (i.e. recruitment costs, on-boarding, and knowledge transfer time) with little value gained. Having a stable and appropriately skilled project delivery workforce enables better workforce planning and can lead to greater project throughput with the same size workforce.

Increased results, however, are not the only benefit, as this process also helps to mitigate risks by empowering the right people in positions where their skills are put to the best possible use. Project management will see a marked improvement to project delivery timelines, putting the company in a better position to take on clients who require faster and more accurate delivery.

A competency assessment can also increase the return on investment for companies that have implemented training programs. It continues to be expensive just to train an average employee for a role, and training programs are often run without an understanding the need or value gained. If that training investment is underpinned by scientific knowledge that the employee gains the required skills to fulfil a role, it is far more likely that the investment will pay future dividends.

Staff benefits

While the organisation will see obvious benefits from using competency assessments, this process will also give staff a clearer direction as they progress in their careers. The resulting higher employee satisfaction rates will ultimately lead to higher employee retention rates, and the overall positive atmosphere works to create more successful recruitment.

Rather than simply placing each staff member into broad groupings, such assessments allow management to focus on more targeted development plans in the development cycle process, as well as a more efficient perspective on coaching and mentoring individual talent.

Perhaps the most underrated and least-considered benefit for both organisations and staff is the enhanced engagement with staff, including understanding the goals and motivation that drives performance and success. It also gives visibility of the aggregate organisational capabilities based on the combined strengths of its staff, and sometime uncovers unique and unexpected talents that can be leveraged to innovate and maintain competitive advantage.


MetaPM’s Capability Framework and Competency Assessment Services

MetaPM’s Project Community Capability Framework service offering supports organisations who are invested in creating career pathways and professional development for their project professionals. The framework helps organisations build project community capability by incorporating a set of skills, behaviours and knowledge supported by processes and tools based on recognised standards.

We work with Executives, PMO and HR functions within your organisation to develop a project role family assessment and capability development framework based on industry recognised competency frameworks.

Click here for further details on our service offering and an overview of MetaPM’s Project Community Capability Framework.

Or contact our Director of Business and Strategic Consulting, Amro Ibraheim on 1800 800 436 or at [email protected]

Staff Testimonials – Jonny Bithell’s Story

Meet Jonny Bithell

Project Management Consultant

With MetaPM since 2016

MetaPM clients that Jonny has worked with:

  • Victorian Managed Insurance Asscoiation
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Bupa
  • Telstra

Jonny Bithell

What do you enjoy most about working @ MetaPM

Being part of the MetaPM family, and it is family, allows me to go to work knowing I have a challenge ahead, security in the role, and a strong team behind me; ultimately enabling me to deliver a great service to our clients and strategic partners. The company offers a diverse set of opportunities across all Industries, including Government, Education, Telco and Insurance Sectors, to mention but a few. My experiences alone has seen my delivering an Agile technical implementation in one client to acting as a scheduler across large digital transformation programme in another. To enable this, MetaPM provide an extremely strong support team behind the scenes, providing access to specialist SMEs and Senior Practice Managers when required, a knowledge management portal for each practice providing relevant templates and supporting literature, or even just a reassuring phone call allowing you to query your thinking or approach to relevant activities or issues. MetaPM really take the time to be a part of your work life, whilst also making sure this is balanced with your home life. They want you to be successful and do their upmost to provide the foundations to enable this!

If you were to describe our company in 3 words, what would they be?

Loyal, Honest, Humble.

What do you like most about your job?

Variety of the role, the people I work with, and the consistent challenge. It may get hectic at times but I certainly don’t get bored… you just don’t have time!

What does a typical working day look like for you?

A typical working day involves a morning gym or yoga session in order to get mind and body primed for the day; finding that inner Zen everyone seems to talk about. Next step and I must state usually my most enjoyable part of the day, I find myself attempting to squeeze onto one of Melbourne’s most spacious Trams! Into the office for 0830hrs to start the day with emails and a nice cup of tea (note as an Englishman only the finest UK imported tea bags will suffice). In my current role as an Integrator for Telstra, working within Cloud services, I am responsible for getting a project and its solution operationally accepted by the business. Working across multiple projects, my daily activities will vary depending on the type and stages of each of these projects.

Usually, my day entails engaging the operational teams and SMEs across L1, L2, L3, L4 (and Vendor where applicable), on behalf of the project, to ensure the project deliverables are created, reviewed, and endorsed. Types of deliverables include Scope, Business cases, Solution Designs (SAD & DLDs), Support Plans and Operate Models. To close, this culminates in the final project stage gate, where I am responsible for ensuring Operations formally confirm their ‘Acceptance to Operate’ (ATO) and the project can Go-Live.

My days are always extremely varied and require me to engage with all kinds of stakeholders within the business, alongside external vendors. With this Client also being Globally located, I can find myself engaging and managing resources in Sydney, Adelaide, India, and even the UK, all in a single day!

My day closes, usually, around 1800hrs, with a quick catch up on emails and ensuring my calendar is up to date for the next 2-3 days. I also ensure I write a single bullet point outcome that I intend to achieve for each of the next day’s meeting. This is something I picked up and really works in focusing the mind for the next day.

What is one of the most interesting tasks / projects you have worked on?

My first role with MetaPM involved me leading the design and development of a Risk Scorecard Framework and Assessment Tool with one of our Government Clients, to be rolled out to all Victorian Government agencies. This project involved me conducting a procurement process to identify and engage the appropriate solution in the marketplace whilst ensuring all of the governance and strict requirements around public procurement were adhered to – challenging but good fun!

If you were to recommend us to someone who would it be and why?

I think I stated this in why I enjoy working @ MetaPM, but I will summarise:

  • It is more than an organisation
  • You are not a number
  • People care about what you do
  • No one wants you to fail
  • You are set up to succeed

With the required professional skills, a good work ethos and a great sense of humour, MetaPM’s the perfect place to make your next career move!

What led you to become a consultant?

A career in consulting interested me due to the variety and dynamic nature of the role. As someone who always wants to be busy, this role allows me to work with lots of different people, face new and difficult challenges, and finally experience diverse business cultures and environments.

These facets of the job will mould and shape my career; and are applicable to any future role I may find myself in!

What gives you the greatest satisfaction in your role?

Prior to coming to Australia, previous roles included leading projects at Clarks, a well-known global footwear brand, and a brief role in the UK Royal Air Force Reserves. Both these experiences involved me working with people, all with the aim of achieving a common goal.
The fact I can continue to do this every day with MetaPM and the clients we work with, makes working for a living worth it!

What’s one interesting thing about you that not many people know of?

I’ve got ginger hair … turns out you get stick in Australia too. :)

Staff Testimonial – Sara Hollis’ Story

Meet Sara Hollis

Business Analyst

With MetaPM since 2016

MetaPM clients that Sara has worked with:

  • City of Port Phillip

Sara Hollis

What do you enjoy most about working @ MetaPM

The culture. I have found MetaPM to be an extremely supportive organisation that genuinely treats its employees as its greatest assets. I have no doubts that if I was having difficulties with anything at my client site that there would be a number of people I could turn to for help and advice.

If you were to describe our company in 3 words, what would they be?

  • Motivated
  • Professional
  • Supportive

What do you like most about your job?

I love the challenge of working on complex projects and managing stakeholders and requirements from a wide range of business areas.

What does a typical working day look like for you?

My typical day would see me working on-site with one of our clients, City of Port Phillip. I’m currently working as the Lead BA on an Asset Management Transformation Project which is currently in planning stages.

What is one of the most interesting tasks / projects you have worked on?

This client engagement is the first I’ve been involved with through MetaPM, so my experience has been primarily the Asset Management Transformation Project. This project is expected to span approximately 3 years and will impact staff, systems and data across the organisation.

If you were to recommend us to someone who would it be and why?

I would recommend MetaPM to contractors who are looking for new opportunities. MetaPM have been extremely supportive of me, both in helping me to find the right role for my skills and in supporting me in my role once I’ve started. I’ve found this to be a much more positive experience than that offered by any other recruitment or consultancy service I’ve been exposed to.

What led you to become a consultant?

I was drawn to the flexibility of consulting and the opportunity to apply my skills to projects in different industries.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction in your role?

Working with a client in the public sector, I get great satisfaction in knowing that the work I’m doing will be helping my client to more efficiently provide services to the wider community.

What’s one interesting thing about you that not many people know of?

I’m not entirely sure what people would find interesting! I’m a passable salsa dancer and I love playing board games in my spare time.

White Paper – Organisational v Project Change Management

Change Management White Paper

Organisational v Project Change Management

By Malcolm Pascoe

Executive Summary

There is a challenge for change management practitioners engaged on a project to share their focus between organisational change management and project change management activities. Along with defining the difference between organisational and project change management, this whitepaper looks to answer the following question:

How can change practitioners provide a structured approach, and set of activities for project change management to:

  • Identify the need for change management on projects
  • Define the scope of project change management activities
  • Identify the deliverables that project change management will produce
  • Provide ROI criteria for project change management

In the process of answering this question, the white paper provides a 10-step process that can be used to implement project change management on a project.

Change Management White Paper

Preview Change Management White Paper

Full Change Management White Paper

White Paper – Stimulating Innovation with Risk Management

Risk Management Whitepaper

 Stimulating Innovation with Risk Management

By Melvin Millard

Executive Summary

In a highly competitive global market, size and reputation alone are not enough to succeed. Organisations need to recognise that however good they are, however desirable their products or services, a competitor will challenge their position with a more desirable product or service. Lack of innovation is not an option; it is a risk as great as any risk in the organisation’s risk register. It is time for the risk manager to show his/her true colours, manage the innovation risk and become the champion of change.

Within this White Paper, we explore how effective risk management can have a positive impact on innovation as well as introduce the PRINCE2 methodology.

Innovation and Risk Management

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White Paper – Business Process Improvement

Business Process Improvement

 – White Paper

Business processes are the backbone of a business’ operations and are what, ultimately, allow a business to deliver products or services to their customers. Processes are generally a series of repeatable activities or tasks and, over time, the processes that we use can require some work to ensure that they are still relevant, efficient and fit for purpose. Processes that are not, can lead to monetary losses, missed deadlines, a reduction in quality of both the products that we deliver and the services that we offer.

Within this White Paper, we introduce you to Business Process Improvement and how to achieve it, as well as introduce the Lean Six Sigma methodology.

Business Processes

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The Change-Savvy Team Member – Meet the Trainer

New Change Management Workshop – The Change-Savvy Team Member

Meet the Trainer – Helen Palmer

MIMS, BSc (Psychology)
Principal Change Agent

change management course

Tell us a little about yourself.

I care about people. I see their needs and desires in the workplace so I’ve chosen work where I can do something useful about that. I was born and raised in NZ so I have a fairly resourceful and creative approach to challenges. I’m a bit quirky and like to inject a healthy dose of fun into my work – some people would describe me as bubbly.  I’m a thinker – like Winnie the Pooh I  ‘sits and thinks’ … and imagine how people can make a better life for others and themselves.  I’m adventurous, so I created my own business as a platform for conversations and activity that cultivates better workscapes.

Outside my own workscape I indulge in landscape design on my country property in the Macedon Ranges;  I create works of art with the technique of origami; I record the family history; and I’ve  been known to compose a poem or three – just like three generations of ancestors.

What is your background in Change Management?

My path in change management has been a wandering one. My sense of how change, particularly technology change was impacting people, came from my very first job back in the mid 1980s. I was working at an Accounting firm that switched from mini-computers in a back room, to micro-computers on the Accountant’s desks. This was a hugh functional and cultural shock. And as the person who had just graduated high school in the first ‘Computer Studies’ class, I was expected to have the answers to help these people out.

My journey through managing change has traversed through doing training, designing training, doing business analysis, doing project management, leading people in teams and strategising what change to make and how to go about it. I now do my change management thing (it can be hard to scope and define) from my own business platform.

What is your involvement with the Change Management Institute (CMI)?

I recently became a member of the CMI Global Board responsible for the Thought Leadership portfolio.  Actually think of that as the Thought and Practice Leadership portfolio.  I have a vision that I’m turning into tangible action and outcomes about how to cultivate useful conversations and grow relevant competencies to tackle 21st change challenges. Some of this will have a research focus. Some of it will have an education learning focus.

What is change-savviness?

Change savviness is the mindset and ability to be savvy in making and leading change. It’s responding to change with a “bring-it-on” attitude, rather than a “oh-no” attitude. And in a world and workscape with so much change happening with high stakes and costs – I think we’d all do well to get better and how we personally deal with change.

Please tell us about The Change-Savvy Team Member.

The course came about because I was often seeing individuals struggling in the workplace with each change project. The training and support in those projects was focused on the specifics of the project, but nobody was stepping back and addressing questions like: How can a person get better at doing change – so when the next project comes along they are more able to participate?  I draw upon my own experience, insights, theory I’ve assimilated and techniques I’ve used to help individuals develop this change-savvy quality and to do it in the context of a team. It’s much easy to make these kinds of personal changes when those around you are also doing it, and some of the changes need the right kinds of conditions to become more natural, and the team leader can be the person to create those conditions.

Why should I attend The Change-Savvy Team Member?

Because you are ready to have a different experience next time there is change in your workplace! You’ve probably got stories about how it was ‘bad’ last time.  Some things are outside your control; others aren’t. Change-savvy is a life-skill that will be good for you at work, and good for you in the rest of your life.  Come along and learn some things that you can do to build your personal power and ability.  If we can cultivate a collective of people with these skills and attitudes, something pretty amazing could happen in our workplaces.

Attend The Change-Savvy Team Member

The Change-Savvy Team Member is the latest course to be added to MetaPM’s Learning Catalogue. It is run in partnership with Questo. Constant change is the new norm for organisations. With the right skills, you and your team can embrace this reality, and become change-savvy! Individual or group responses to change don’t have to be left to chance. The Change-Savvy Team Member workshop is for motivated managers and teams looking to become more change-savvy.

For more information on the course, click here or get into contact with MetaPM’s Director of Learning, Melanie Holland on 0418 770 395 or at [email protected]  

MetaPM’s Change Management Practice

We help organisations and businesses to consider their capacity and capability to plan and deliver effective change. We provide experienced and accredited practitioners in Change Management and Communication to enable the successful implementation of your strategic change initiatives. We specialise in innovative, agile approaches to leading and enabling people to transition through and embrace change. Design thinking, Empathy mapping, the latest research, and standards based on the Change Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK) informs our thinking and practice. Passion to help you, and partnering with you, defines our approach.

For a discussion about how MetaPM could help you Change Management capabilities, contact MetaPM’s Change Management Practice Manager, Bronte Jackson on 0412 615 212  or at [email protected]

#ChangeChat Podcast with MetaPM’s Bronte Jackson

Conversations of Change’s #ChangeChat Podcast with MetaPM’s Bronte Jackson

MetaPM’s own Change Management Practice Manager, Bronte Jackson was once again a guest on Change Management industry thought leader Jen Frahm’s podcast – Conversations of Change.
Hear Jen and Bronte discuss the correlation of Change Management and Social Anthropology in this enthralling interview.


You can listen to this podcast and many other conversations with other Change Leaders by visiting Jen Fraham’s website –

bronte podcast

To learn more about MetaPM’s Change Management Practice, CLICK HERE.

The game simply never ends – Business game-changers

agile blog

By Matt Jobling

There are so many elements to achieving sustained business success these days. Just when a business establishes a position the market dynamics are disrupted by seemingly invisible forces and it needs to reset for the next play in real time.



On the surface it can seem bewildering. The pace of business just gets faster and faster, and the forces driving it seem hidden or unknowable.

Looking a little further we can see that there is combination of technological factors driving this profound economic change, and thankfully there is a clear path to establishing and maintaining organisational fitness for the never-ending game of sustained business success.

It is axiomatic these days that pace of business is increasing, and that traditional and leading edge methods for managing business alike need to learn and adapt, fast and continuously. The key is to embrace these dynamics as a fact of the business life and think through what it means for your business. Because if you don’t, someone else already is!

The ubiquity of technology (smart devices) and cloud offerings (mobility), the rise of social networks (connectedness) and availability and use of data (information and hence choice) are a powerful combination of technologies and innovation. And the speed at which innovation is taking place is accelerating, driving enormous productivity gains, creating new businesses and changing the competitive dynamics of existing industries.

Consider traditional industries like insurance, legal, banking that have not competed directly with technology-based products and services, and that up until now have been insulated to a degree by the strength of their historical market positions. Even they are now directly impacted by the ubiquity of digital channels and far more knowledgeable and discerning customers, and nimble and digitally savvy start-ups moving into their markets.


We all acknowledge the impact of digital technologies on our everyday life.  With “big data in our pocket” we can connect to the world in a way that was unimaginable five years ago.  No matter where we are we can stay informed, engage with each another, and importantly for businesses, transact based on a whole new view of the world. And this is happening all day, every day, and beyond the confines of geographical boundaries, that until recently where the last significant tariff protecting traditional business models.

Customers these days are been liberated from the traditional business-defined relationships and are defining their own. Power is with the people and they are exercising it by effortlessly researching competing offers and sharing information and opinion within their online communities, informing their decisions.

Build An Adaptive Operational Foundation

Doing business and working on the business are now concurrent and highly interrelated processes. Think flying the plane while you are building it and you get the idea of what it feels like!

The key is an operational foundation that is inherently adaptive, ultra-reliable, that can be counted on to support business not only with quality product and service delivery but also great product and service innovation and development.

Far from being based on fixed structures and processes that are simply funded, resourced and managed, winning organisations must maintain great insight into customers and markets in real-time through continuously refined digital channels, end-to-end management of the customer journey, and the design and collection of aligned metrics.

And they use these analytics to drive strategy and lean planning and steering towards a clearly understood and measurable set of business objectives that are implemented by customer-driven product and service innovation, and continuous, incremental delivery.

Create Highly Enabled Teams

And finally, critical to success in this new world are highly enabled teams aligned to the strategic value streams of the organisation and who have ownership of the implementation plans and business outcomes within. Teams that are supported by leadership with all the skills, experience, behaviours and culture needed to meet and beat the goals agreed with them.

Gone are the days when business can be done with teams waiting for direction from management and within the constraints of static processes and controls. Now it is all about an inspirationally led, supported, knowledgeable and highly enabled and adaptable workforce that has direct line of sight to their customers and all the information, skills, tools and culture to read and respond to their needs. Businesses that get this backbone in place, and maintain it, position themselves for sustainable success.

Those that don’t will either fail to see the real opportunities of the digitally disrupted field of play, or will simply not be able to respond quickly enough to exploit them.  And these businesses face the inevitable future of more nimble, digitally savvy innovators making deeper and deeper inroads into their territory as they struggle to hold to operating modes that once served them well but now do not.

So the question to ask is “Are your teams primed and ready to respond to your competitive environment, or are you waiting for the off-season to work on their match fitness?” If the answer is the latter then think again.

In business today the game never ends, the final siren never blows. So adapting to the volatile dynamics of customers and markets and making the necessary course corrections while there is still time to win the current play, while at the very same time thinking strategically, and establishing and maintaining organisational fitness for the next play, and for tomorrow and next month, and next year is the new competitive advantage.